Raytheon's Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer (MALD-J) completed operational testing in late May, a senior company official says. The results of the testing should be available "this fall", but the US Air Force is already buying the MALD-J in quantity.
"We just negotiated lot six with the US Air Force, and they bought lot six and they are all jammers," says Jeff White, Raytheon's MALD business development manager. The sixth production lot of the air-launched decoys consists of 202 MALD-J vehicles, for a total price of $81 million.
White points out that this is the third lot of the MALD-J decoys that the USAF has purchased since the service started procuring the jammer variant of the MALD in the fourth production lot. So far the USAF has ordered about 650 MALD-J decoys, he says, with more to come.
"We're negotiating lot seven now," White says. "That'll come out next year."
Even though the MALD-J has completed its developmental activities, Raytheon is moving forward on potential naval applications for the jet-powered decoy. The company is working on risk reduction activities for the US Navy's Airborne Electronic Attack Expendable air-launched decoy programme, with White saying its proposal would use the MALD-J as a baseline.
White also says that Raytheon is working with the Office of Naval Research on a programme called Cerberus, which would fit the MALD with multiple payloads for the service's offensive anti-surface warfare mission. White says that if the navy can secure funding in the 2015 budget, the service could receive its first MALDs in 2017 or 2018.
A third development is being funded internally by Raytheon to effectively turn the decoy into a cruise missile of sorts by adding a thermobaric warhead to the decoy, White says. The company is also looking at adding a data-link to the device.
Another Raytheon-funded development is the MALD cargo aircraft launch system, which would enable a transport, such as the Lockheed Martin C-130J, to launch as many as 24 of the decoys. The company released inert MALDs from a Hercules in March 2011, but hopes to carry out a full live demonstration of the capability this year or during 2014, White says.